Resin and nail polish

resin and nail polish

What happens when you use nail polish in resin?

Confession time.  I have this weird quirk about needing to buy stuff from the bargain bin of stores and try to use them in resin.  It’s like I’m imagining myself on one of those cooking shows and have to use a specific ingredient in a dish.  I have taken that to the resin studio and try to challenge myself every chance I get.

In a recent dollar store trip, I found some nail polishes in the bargain bin and decided now was the time to try them in resin.  The basics of the two-part experiment went like this:

I mixed 1 ounce total of Resin Obsession super clear resin.

For Part A, I put approximately 5 ml of mixed resin into 4 different one ounce plastic mixing cups.  I added opaque colors to two of the cups, whereas I added clear polish with glitter to the other two cups.  I poured the resin into a plastic teardrop mold.

For Part B, I poured the rest of the mixed clear resin into our domino size silicone mold.  I poured drops of 4 opaque colors onto each cavity of wet resin.  Unfortunately, the clear nail polish with glitter was too thick to pour.

The results

nail polish mixed with resin

The final demolded charms are shown with their corresponding polishes.

resin charms with nail polish

The nail polish did not want to mix with the resin.  It immediately started to clump and these clumps did not dissolve.

Note:  A few of you have suggested to mix the acetone with nail polish to thin it out before including it in resin.  If you do this, please know it may affect the resin curing and is flammable.  Use caution if you are using a torch to pop bubbles in the resin.

pink and purple resin charms

You can see better when the charms are held up to the light that there are flakes in them, especially in the one on the left.

clear nail polish and resin

The results of using clear nail polish and resin were awful.  It turned the resin yellow!  I know lacquer will turn resin yellow, so in this case, clear nail polish likely has the same ingredients and properties.  Definite fail!

nail polish on resin

Dripping nail polish on resin got me somewhat better results.

pink and purple nail polish painted on resin

The pink and purple polishes left pretty dots on the resin surface that matched their original colors.

blue and teal nail polish on clear resin

The blue and teal nail polishes left some weird feathering.  I would have liked these better if the color had been consistent like the pink and purples above.

So here is what I learned

  1. 1.  Mixing nail polish with resin is not likely to be an effective way to color resin.
  2. 2.  Dripping nail polish on resin can give color to wet resin.  Quite frankly though, I liked the results from using alcohol based ink colors better.  (See my ink drop pendant tutorial.)
  3. 3.  Painting colored nail polish on cured resin looks like it would be a good option for coloring the back of resin charms.
  4. 4.  Clear nail polish should definitely be avoided in wet resin.  After seeing it turn yellow quickly, I’m not sure I would use it to paint resin charms either.
Like this post? You may be interested in  How to color clear epoxy resin

What have you learned using resin and nail polish?

If you want to see more of how I did this experiment, you can watch the video:


Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2017 Resin Obsession, LLC



Try using it with Gel polish. 🙂 You can get really cheap gel polish of ebay (they’re too lousy to use as proper nail polish) but they cure in UV light and so you can likely use it in some combination with Resin. You can also fill the mold up in gel polish and cure it entirely without resin.

Gayle Reichelt

Good article. Frankly, why would an artist want to use nail polish to colour resin when there are so many good artist quality powders, inks and pastes available to colour resin? Why use an inferior product? The same goes for using things like eye shadow. Why would you even want to.


You’d want to because the nail polish and eyeshadow can be as low as $1 each rather than $12 or more for alcohol inks, pigment powders, etc. Some people simply cannot afford professional materials. That should not exclude them from enjoying this art form, and with a little experimentation to figure out how to make their accessible materials work it doesn’t have to. I’ll also point out that the only difference between pearlex powders and eyeshadow is packaging/marketing and a little filler like cornstarch. They function in the exact same way.

Kitty Tripp

I have used nail polish for years to paint the edges of the photos I put inside bezels and cover with resin. I love the way a thin outline of chrome or golden glittery polish sets off the image inside the resin. I have never had any of them turn yellow or go off color in over 4 years. I have examples up on my facebook and etsy pages for Glitzy Gull – it really adds a nice touch.


I agree absolutely with Jade here. Besides which, it can be really interesting to experiment, provided you are sensible of course, with different media and see the results. It can be an education in itself. Additionally, someone somewhere started out and discovered all the best and ‘simplest’ methods by experimentation in the first place… where did I put those out-of-date food colourings ……….

Nicky Raynard

I know you said the results were awfull with the clear varnish but i think it looks nice. Well worth a try for sun catchers perhaps?

Ptarmigan Emery

So glad I found this page. I just used a metallic nail polish to paint the sides of a wood knot hole. I let it dry and then filled, almost to the top, with colored resin. I plan to finish with a clear coat on top tomorrow. Hoping it looks like it did when I left it.
So maybe mixing isn’t the best use. Maybe layering would work…

Rhonda J Hunter

I have been using clear nail polish as a glaze on matte resin to put a shine on it, when I was out of my “good stuff”, and no complaints of yellowing (yet!). I like the color yours turned, it’s sort of like amber.


It works great for painting the back. Don’t thin polish with acetone, thin it with Orly nail polish thinner.

Mary Tomlin

I have been using nail polish with resin now for a while. I don’t put in the resin though. I dip cured resin shapes in nail polish and water as in when you dip nail in a bowl to get a swirling effect. I have been getting exciting results and customers love them!
Usually use 3 colors in shallow bowl for dipping with nail polish. I also like the color glaze.


I have been thinking of using nail stamps on some of my resin pieces. Thank you for this and thanks to all who posted the positive results of painting cured resin with nail polish. This will add a whole new dimension to my work.


I have some tiny bottles of ink from my older printer, is this alcohol ink and can I use it in resin.


I Love the nail polish idea!! I have a sinful colors brand in purple at Walmart. Love deep dark colors! So I’m now Curious Mrs Katherine have U tried to: 1)Add a thin layer of resin, let it cure 2) Add the nail polish 3) I’d do that hot pink U used with MY sinful purple,& swirl ‘em with a toothpick, let dry!! 4)& finally do a 3rd coat of resin & cure, maybe add a-bit glitter too as it cures. & you’re done! Have U thought of that? Let resin cure, then do polish Katherine? I’ll hope to Hear from U.👍🏼

Ed Bayani

If I embed an artifact painted with nail polish, would the polymer resin dissolve or have a yellowing effect?


I attempted to mix nail polish and resin and while mixing other cups of color (not nail polish) and got to the nail polish and resin to mix up that color, the bottom of the plastic cup fell out from the reaction that had occurred. I still want to try it but we’ll see!


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